Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/10

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/10

OK: Black families of murder victims more likely to be denied aid from Oklahoma state program

readfrontier.org 

An Oklahoma state program can deny families victim aid if it is believed the victim contributed to their own death. The practice hits black families the most, data shows.

FL: Civil rights groups raise privacy concerns over post-Parkland, Florida, school security database

tampabay.com

Civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and several that advocate for people with disabilities or mental illnesses, said that Florida should reevaluate its plan for creating an expansive database of student discipline and behavior.

WY: Wyoming, tribes work to allow tribal IDs for voter registration

trib.com

State and tribal officials have started discussions over making it easier for voters with tribal identification to use them to vote in Wyoming. The talks follow concerns of difficulty using them to register last fall.

OR: Oregon senator must give notice before returning to the Capitol

oregonlive.com

Oregon Republican Sen. Brian Boquist can only report to the Capitol if he provides 12 hours’ notice, so that officials can arrange for additional state troopers to ensure the safety of employees and the public.

CA: New California law on police use of force awaits governor’s signature

sacbee.com

A measure that would make California’s law governing police use of force one of the strictest in the country cleared the legislature and is on its way to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. The measure, which Newsom is expected to sign, elevates California’s deadly force standard from when officers think it’s “reasonable” to only when “necessary.”

VA: Virginia gun control debate ends as Republicans adjourn session

washingtonpost.com

Barely more than 90 minutes after it convened a special session called by the Democratic governor to debate gun legislation, the GOP-controlled General Assembly abruptly adjourned without taking action. The legislature will reconvene in November after an election in which all seats are on the ballot.

ME: Maine voters may face many requests for signatures

pressherald.com

Maine voters are going to hear a lot of requests for their signatures in the months ahead, as the Secretary of State’s Office prepares to issue more than a dozen petitions for “people’s veto” campaigns to overturn newly enacted state laws.

MN: Minnesota sees sharp drop in opioid deaths

startribune.com

Preliminary Minnesota figures are giving health officials hope that a two-decade epidemic has peaked. Officials credit a state education and awareness campaign, programs monitoring overprescribing of opioids, the creation of disposal sites for unused opioids and expanded access to the rescue drug naloxone.

MO: Missouri outlaws jail debt turning into jail time, following action by governor

stltoday.com

Courts across Missouri will no longer be allowed to threaten defendants with more time behind bars if defendants fail to pay jail debts. Republican Gov. Mike Parson signed a bill that does away with hearings at which defendants must explain to a judge why they should not be locked up for failure to pay jail “board bills.” 

NJ: New Jersey governor wants to end misclassifying workers as ‘contractors’

nj.com

Thousands of New Jersey workers were cheated out of millions in wages and benefits last year because their employers labeled them as independent contractors instead of employees, according to a report released by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration. 

TX: The University of Texas soon will be free for lower-income undergrads

texastribune.org

The University of Texas system’s governing board approved a special $160 million distribution from its endowment, which school officials expect will fully cover the tuition and fees of students whose families earn up to $65,000 in adjusted gross income a year starting in 2020.

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